- Summit Mount Kilimanjaro, one of the seven summits of the world at 19,340'
- Navigate Kilimanjaro's Lemosho Route, the most scenic on the mountain
- Cross 6 ecological zones from lush rainforest to the harsh, beautiful arctic zone.
- Follow top African guides, full of knowledge of the mountain and its environs
- Extend your time in Tanzania with a spectacular wildlife safari
Mount Kilimanjaro, standing majestically at 19,340', has enticed climbers for centuries as one of the "seven summits" of the world. This huge, snow-capped mountain rises dramatically above the vast African plains. To climb Kilimanjaro and watch the sunrise spread its golden light across the savannah below is an experience and personal accomplishment second to none.
The Lemosho Route is considered to be the most scenic route on Mount Kilimanjaro, and its longer path allows ample time for acclimatization. Starting in lush rainforest on its western side, we hike through Kili's six ecological zones. We traverse the Shira Plateau and the Southern Circuit, taking in views of Kibo and its incredible glaciers. Our team of top African guides, with their delightful personalities and in-depth knowledge, lead us to the top.
Join us on the "Roof of Africa!"
Explore even more! Reward your accomplishment with a safari! Our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension begins at Ngorongoro Crater, home to plentiful big game. Next is the world's most famous wildlife reserve, Serengeti National Park. We conclude with a visit to Lake Manyara National Park, where a vast alkaline soda lake meets the dramatic rise of the Great Rift escarpment.
Looking for other options on Kilimanjaro? Check out our Kilimanjaro – Marangu Route trip.
- Day 1 - Welcome to Arusha, Tanzania, the gateway to the roof of Africa!
- Day 2 - Explore Arusha or relax at the hotel before an afternoon orientation.
- Day 3 - The climb begins with a hike through lush rainforest to Forest Camp.
- Day 4 - Arrive at Shira 1 Camp. Incredible views of Kibo and Kili's summit cone.
- Day 5 - Cross the Shira Plateau toward Kibo's glaciated peak to Moir Hut Camp.
- Day 6 - Enter the alpine desert zone before descending to Barranco Camp.
- Day 7 - Hike the rocky Barranco Wall and watch the sunset from Karanga Camp.
- Day 8 - Hike amid sparse scenery to Barafu Camp. Rest before our summit attempt.
- Day 9 - Summit day! By midnight, we begin making our way to the roof of Africa.
- Day 10 - It's all downhill back to the Mweka gate. Enjoy a celebration dinner.
- Day 11 - Say goodbye to Africa or join our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension.
Trip Itinerary and Details
Important Notice: Day 1 is the day you should plan to arrive at the meeting point for the trip. This may require departing your hometown one or more days in advance and traveling on an overnight flight.
Day 1 - Welcome to Arusha, Tanzania, the gateway to the roof of Africa!
Your trip begins today in Arusha, Tanzania with a flight into Kilimanjaro Airport. We provide a group transfer to a very comfortable hotel near Arusha. Most travelers find they are tired after the long flight and prefer to go directly to their room to rest. No meals included.
Day 2 - Explore Arusha or relax at the hotel before an afternoon orientation.
Take your time to adjust to life in Africa. You're free to rest or sightsee until our 4:00 p.m. group orientation meeting. You can arrange local transportation at the hotel front desk if you'd like to explore Arusha town, which is known as the "little Geneva of Tanzania." Set in the shadow of Mount Meru with impressive views of Kilimanjaro, Arusha was established in 1900 as a German garrison town. Or you might want to relax at the pool or in the gardens. We can also arrange for a day trip into Arusha National Park for some wildlife viewing (added cost). Breakfast and dinner included.
Day 3 - The climb begins with a hike through lush rainforest to Forest Camp.
After an early breakfast, we depart Arusha and drive to the Londorossi Gate to register with park authorities. We continue on to the Lemosho trailhead (~7,500') where we meet our support staff and begin our trek to the "Roof of Africa." Our path starts off in lush afromontane forest containing some of Kilimanjaro's most exquisite and diverse flora. This part of the trail is also rich in bird life and White Colobus monkeys abound. The trail winds through peaceful, undisturbed woods to Forest Camp (~9,500'), our home for the night. All meals included starting with breakfast today through breakfast on Day 11.
Driving and park formalities: 5 hours; Hiking: 3-4 hours, ~4 miles; Elevation gain: ~2,000'.
Day 4 - Arrive at Shira 1 Camp. Incredible views of Kibo and Kili's summit cone.
From Forest Camp, the trail leads us through podocarpus and juniper forest and then enters the heath zone. We hike through tall grasses and heather, past volcanic rock formations draped in lichens and several streams, then onto the Shira Plateau. Our destination today is Shira 1 Camp at ~11,500'. The view to Kibo, Kilimanjaro's summit cone, in the distance is incredible!
Hiking: 5-6 hours, 5 miles; Elevation gain: ~2,000'.
Day 5 - Cross the Shira Plateau toward Kibo's glaciated peak to Moir Hut Camp.
Today we hike to Moir Hut. The trail heads eastward toward Kibo's glaciated peak, and provides a gentle ascent across the Shira plateau. In the distance, the Shira Cone rises over 600' above the plateau. It is Mt. Kilimanjaro's oldest cone with only its western and southern rims remaining. The rest of the cone was covered by material from an eruption of Kibo, last active during the Pleistocene epoch. Our camp (13,800') is at the base of the Lent Hills. This is a good day for acclimatization, with options for hiking this afternoon with our guides.
Hiking: ~6 hours, 8 miles; Elevation gain: ~2,300'.
Day 6 - Enter the alpine desert zone before descending to Barranco Camp.
We depart the moorland zone and enter the alpine desert zone. From the Shira Plateau, our path heads southeast to Lava Tower (15,190'), a prominent rock feature known as the "shark's tooth". Relatively little flora and fauna can survive the extreme temperature ranges and conditions that typify the alpine desert zone. We spend some time here and enjoy a hot lunch to facilitate acclimatization. The views over the surrounding savannahs far below and up to Kibo are outstanding. We continue on descending into the Barranco Valley, where the conditions are perfect for the giant lobelias and senecios that grow here. We stop for the night at Barranco Camp (13,000'). Hiking high and sleeping lower aids our acclimatization.
Hiking: 5-7 hours, ~5 miles; Elevation gain: ~2,090'; elevation loss: 2,190.'
Day 7 - Hike the rocky Barranco Wall and watch the sunset from Karanga Camp.
Today we hike to Karanga Camp (~13,106'), strategically placed to again aid in our acclimatization. We begin the day at the crux of the trek, the Barranco Wall, an 800' cliff we must hike up and over to get to Karanga Valley. Luckily, it looks much harder than it actually is! It takes about 1-1/2 hours to negotiate the Barranco Wall; at the top we enjoy a well-deserved rest with lovely views. The trail becomes easier, undulating its way to Karanga Camp. Sunset here is particularly spectacular with views of the southern glacial valleys and ice fields towering 3,000' above us.
Hiking: 4-5 hours, 3 miles; Elevation gain/loss: ~1,000'.
Day 8 - Hike amid sparse scenery to Barafu Camp. Rest before our summit attempt.
From Karanga Camp, we hike steadily uphill through a sparse landscape to Barafu Camp (15,331'), located on a rocky ridge. We arrive in the early afternoon, giving us time to rest before our summit attempt. At this point, we have traversed Kilimanjaro's Shira Plateau and the Southern Circuit, taking in views of Kibo from many different angles. From here, we also enjoy splendid views of rocky Mawenzi, the third of Kili's three distinct volcanic cones. After a light dinner and pre-climb talk with our guides, we turn in early for what little sleep is possible.
Hiking: 4-5 hours, 3 miles; Elevation gain: ~2,225'.
Day 9 - Summit day! By midnight, we begin making our way to the roof of Africa.
Summit day! Our guides wake us before midnight for tea and cookies and final dressing (in many layers) for our summit attempt. It can be bitterly cold. Our guides like to have the team on the trail between 12:00-1:00 a.m. in hopes of reaching the summit to view the sunrise. Starting off, the trail heads up a steep scree slope while the line of climbers stretches out in the darkness, only visible by their headlamps. Placing one foot in front of the other and focusing on breathing, the black sky infinitely above us, this climb is one you will never forget. This is the most mentally and physically challenging part of the trek! It takes approximately 6 hours to reach Stella Point (~18,800') on the crater rim. From here it is another long hour to Uhuru Peak, the summit of Kilimanjaro at 19,340'. The views across the plains of Africa, and the well-deserved sense of accomplishment, make it all worthwhile.
Most climbers find the descent no easier than the ascent. Fatigue and steep scree force us to maintain our concentration. We descend to stay at either Millennium Camp (~12,500') or Mweka Camp (~10,200'), stopping at Barafu Camp for a brief rest and refreshments. Arriving into camp in the late afternoon, we have trekked a total of 15-17 hours today.
Hiking: 15-17 hours; ~10-12 miles; Elevation gain: ~4,000'; Elevation loss: ~7,000'-9,000' (varies depending on camp location).
Day 10 - It's all downhill back to the Mweka gate. Enjoy a celebration dinner.
Another long hike is in store for us, but it is essentially all downhill and our spirits are boosted by the satisfaction of yesterday's climb. We are again surrounded by lush rainforest bursting with life. Back at Mweka gate, we pick up our certificates to attest to our success and bid farewell to many of our porters and guides. We transfer to our lodging in Arusha, where it's a welcome treat to take a hot shower, sip a cold drink and commemorate the climb with a celebration dinner.
Driving: ~2-1/2 hours; Hiking: ~8 miles; Elevation loss: ~5,000 - 7,000' (varies depending on camp location).
Day 11 - Say goodbye to Africa or join our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension.
The day is free for shopping in Arusha or relaxing at the lodge. A day room is arranged for late check-out, and we provide one group transfer to the airport. Or, continue the adventure on our Kilimanjaro Safari Extension. Breakfast included; lunch and dinner on your own.
Although we do our very best to adhere to the schedule listed above, this itinerary is subject to change for numerous reasons beyond our control.
All accommodations and meals as noted in the daily itinerary; airport transfers when arriving and departing with the group; skilled bi-lingual climbing guide(s), cook, and porters on the mountain; tent and foam sleeping pad; cooking and eating utensils; waterproof duffel for the climb; filtered/treated drinking water; Kilimanjaro National Park fees and taxes.
Airfare to Arusha, Tanzania; 2 lunches and 1 dinner; sleeping bag; gratuities to guides and climbing support staff; excess baggage charges; airport taxes; items of a personal nature such as soft drinks, bottled water or liquor, laundry fees, internet fees; cost of obtaining a passport and visa; immunizations; insurance of any kind.
Please check with us before purchasing your airline tickets to ensure your trip has the necessary minimum number of participants required to operate.
The weather on Mt Kilimanjaro is quite diverse. The climb starts through a wide belt of wet tropical forest, and then goes through zones with generally decreasing temperatures and rainfall to the summit where there is permanent ice and below-freezing temperatures. Our trips avoid the rainy season, which runs late—March to May, and the short rains in November.
The summit of Mt Kilimanjaro is at 19,340'. We attempt to minimize the effect of altitude through our program of acclimatization. Most climbers experience some symptoms of altitude illness during the climb. These symptoms can include headache, nausea, loss of appetite, difficulty breathing and general weakness. More severe reactions can include both cerebral and pulmonary edema, which can result in permanent injury or death. The only cure is to descend. Our Kilimanjaro climbing guides are experienced at altitude and are there to help all trip members maximize their summit climb.
This safari trip is rated Strenuous . Trip members should be strong, experienced hikers in excellent physical condition. Your physical fitness is vital to your success on the climb. A serious physical conditioning program should be undertaken at least 6-9 months in advance to get into shape. Hiking hills for the legs, swimming to increase lung capacity and circulation, jogging and bicycling for overall fitness are all excellent for building the strength necessary for the trek. The best training is extensive hiking up and down hills with significant elevation gain and loss (2,500' – 4,000', similar to what you'll experience on the trip) and doing 10+ mile hikes on weekends prior to the trip. Previous experience at altitude may improve your chances of summiting Kilimanjaro. A physician's signature is required on our Health Form in order to participate on a trip rated Strenuous .
If you are traveling alone and specifically request single accommodations, you will be asked to pay the single supplement fee. There is no single supplement fee for those willing to share accommodations, and we will assign you a roommate of the same gender if possible. Please be advised that there are a limited number of single accommodations available.General Information
This trip is subject to the booking information set forth in the current REI Adventures Reservation Information. Please read this information carefully and call us if you have any questions. A full gear list and pre-departure information is sent upon sign-up. We highly recommend the purchase of travel insurance through REI Adventures. If coverage is purchased at the time of your initial reservation, the 'Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion' is waived (certain exclusions apply).
We look forward to having you join us for the trip of a lifetime! Why wait? Space is limited, reserve your adventure today.
Mt. Kilimanjaro Climb – Lemosho Route Gear List
The key to staying comfortable while on an active trip is layering. To get maximum comfort with minimum weight, you need versatile layers that mix and match to create the right amount of insulation, ventilation and weather protection. Try to bring only what is necessary—this will help you and the field staff.
Prior to beginning the Kilimanjaro climb, gear and clothing is divided into "trek" and "non-trek" items. Non-trek items are stored in Arusha. While on the climb your duffel bag has a weight restriction of 30 pounds per person.
- Dining tent with table and chairs
- Cots and foam sleeping pads, pillows
- Cooking and eating utensils
- Waterproof duffel for the climb
- Portable toilet and paper
- Filtered/treated drinking water
- Valid passport
- Airline tickets
- International health card with immunizations (recommended, not required)
- Extra passport photos (2) for overland travel to Tanzania or emergency use
- One piece of luggage for international flight and to store safari gear while on the climb
- Duffel bag, durable, large enough for sleeping bag and gear, no wheels or handle (for use on the climb)
- Luggage tags and luggage locks (2 sets)
- Passport pouch or money belt
- Daypack, 35-50 liters
- Rain cover and 2 large plastic trash bags for your daypack and duffel bag
- Sleeping bag, rated 0-10°F
- Bring a few lightweight, easily washable items for travel and city wear
- Waterproof, breathable jacket and pants
- Insulated down or synthetic filled jacket
- Midweight wool or fleece sweater / jacket
- Fleece or wool pants
- Thermal underwear top and bottom. Synthetic or wool. Two sets: one midweight and one expedition weight
- T-shirts, mix of synthetic and cotton
- Synthetic, long-sleeve shirts
- Hiking pants (zip-off legs are great)
- Casual clothes for relaxing at safari camps
- Hiking socks: 4-6 pair, wool or synthetic
- Liner socks
- Swimsuit (pools at some lodges)
- Waterproof hiking boots with excellent lateral and ankle support and a rugged sole (well broken in)
- Camp shoes (sneakers or sport sandals)
- Balaclava or neck gaiter
- Gaiters, knee length
- Wool or fleece gloves
- Thin gloves liners
- Waterproof glove or mitten shells
- Wool or fleece hat
- Sun hat with brim
- Four 1-quart water bottles - or- 70 oz or larger hydration system + two 1-quart bottles
- Headlamp and spare batteries/bulb (no flashlights!)
- Sunglasses with dark lenses
- Ski goggles
- Trekking poles - highly recommended
- Hand and toe warmers (for summit day)
- Favorite energy snacks and powdered drinks
- Sunblock and lip balm with high SPF
- Insect repellent with DEET
- Travel towel (see "Things to Consider")
- Toilet kit: ditty bag: 1 roll toilet tissue, Ziploc bags, hand sanitizer and/or Wet Ones
- Windproof shell jacket and/or pants
- Camera, lenses and lots of memory cards
- Binoculars - highly recommended for safari
- Reading and writing materials
- Watch with alarm or travel clock
- Water bottle insulator for summit day
- Knee supports
- Motion sickness remedies for those prone to this, especially for safari drives
- Travel pillow
- Ziploc bags, to protect camera & binoculars from dust while on safari
- Spare contact lenses or prescription glasses
Things to Consider
- Always pack essential items such as your passport, money, eyewear, a change of clothing, hiking boots and medications in your carry-on baggage in case your luggage is delayed.
- The duffel bag used for the climb will be placed inside a waterproof duffel bag (provided by REI Adventures). While on the climb, your main luggage will be placed in storage at the Arusha lodge.
- Your guide and climbing team will ensure that plenty of potable drinking water is available during your climb. Hydration packs with a minimum 70oz capacity are recommended for the lower elevations. Since even insulated hydration packs can freeze on our summit day, be sure to pack along two additional 1-quart water bottles for your summit attempt.
- Be kind to your feet! If you plan on purchasing new boots, do so well ahead of time and allow yourself time to break them in. A very good way to minimize the risk of blisters is to wear a thin liner sock under your regular hiking socks. Test your sock combination before you go on the trip.
- Many of the roads in Africa are deeply rutted and dusty. It is a good idea to pack camera equipment and binoculars in sturdy plastic bags to protect them from the dust. This is in addition to their normal cases. Also, bring lens cleaning materials.
- Cotton is wonderful in warm weather and can be worn on safari. However, once it becomes wet, it will drain your body heat. Bring wool or wicking synthetics such as Capilene, MTS and Thermax for the climb portion of this trip.
- Casual attire is acceptable for Africa. Neutral, light colored clothing is best for the safari, to blend into the landscape and not alarm the wildlife. Khaki is always a good color while on safari.
- Laundry is difficult on this trip. You can hand wash a few quick-drying items and whenever you are at the same safari lodge for 2 nights, you can inquire into laundry service.
- The REI MultiTowel or similar is recommended as a quick-dry towel on this trip. See www.rei.com for details.
- Bring a small ditty bag that includes a Ziploc bag with toilet tissue, spare Ziploc bags to dispose of soiled tissue, a small bottle of hand sanitizer and/or wet wipes. Women should add any necessary feminine products. Your ditty bag will be carried in your daypack throughout the trip, including while on safari.
Feel free to give us a call at (800) 622-2236 should you have any questions regarding the gear list. The staff at our stores and Direct Sales (800-426-4840) will also be happy to help you with gear questions. Or check out www.rei.com/learn. The Expert Advice section on our "Learn" page has great information to help you prepare for your trip.